You have likely heard of aloe vera. This substance is found in most topical creams for relieving itchiness and other skin problems. It’s also a mainstay in body lotions and shampoos.
Most people, however, are unfamiliar with aloe vera’s cousin, aloe ferox (also known as "bitter aloe" and "cape aloe").
This compound is a godsend for anyone struggling with the typical symptoms associated with poor digestion... We'll get into that more in this article.
First, let’s examine the aloe vera plant. This species is known for its spiky green leaves. It’s often mistaken as a type of cacti, though it’s actually an evergreen succulent plant with origins in the Arabian Peninsula.
The plant is cultivated for its gel-like substance inside the leaf. The gel is used in Chinese and Ayurvedic folk medicine for treating a number of external ailments. This includes reducing acne, exfoliating the skin, and even repairing dead skin cells in the scalps.
We just described the much more commonly known aloe vera. How is aloe ferox related? Both plants are from the same genus and are also very similar in appearance. In the plant, though, the sap is derived from small capillaries just underneath the leaf surface. This differs from aloe vera where the sap is present throughout the entire leaf. Physically, aloe ferox is distinguished by its reddish flower buds that protrude vertically and in the center of the plant.
How exactly do aloe vera and aloe ferox differ beyond the physical characteristics? For one of its benefits, aloe ferox is said to be far more nutritionally dense and rich in a plethora of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It has also been used as a colon cleanser in South Africa for over 400 years. Locals would remove the leaves and place them around a well to allow the sap to ooze to the bottom. As the sap dries, it hardens into a crystalline form and administered as a natural laxative.
Its use as a folk medicine is supported by modern science. In a 2004 study, subjects were given an aloe ferox supplement to treat their irritable bowel syndrome. After a four-week trial, 30% of the patients saw improvement or a complete remission in their condition. By contrast, only 1% of subjects in the placebo group saw an improvement.
Furthermore, a later study in 2011 yielded similar results. In this trial, constipated rats given aloe ferox in their water supply saw an improvement in their condition. There were also no adverse side effects nor were there ill-effects on the kidney or liver.
In addition, the substance also has strong antimicrobial properties that kill the bad bacteria that leads to acute constipation. Its rich nutritional profile also helps combat inflammation in the gastrointestinal tracts.
If you struggle more often than not in the loo, then we definitely recommend looking into this medicinal herb. You should also supplement with a product like Betaine HCI for digestive support. You might also want to examine what you’re eating. Processed and refined foods do your stomach no favors.
As mentioned earlier, aloe vera is well known for treating a number of skin conditions. Well, aloe ferox not only does the same but it does an even better job.
In one study, rats with atopic dermatitis were given an aloe vera or aloe ferox supplement. While both groups saw a reduction in skin inflammation, the ferox group saw noticeably more improvement. The results suggest that aloe ferox may be effective as a natural alternative to antihistamines for treating chronic dermatitis.
It is also a humectant, meaning that it attracts and seals in moisture. This is vital for both skin and hair health as it promotes skin elasticity and prevents hair from tangling and splitting. It also contains nearly the complete amino acid profile, which the hair follicles require for healthy growth.
Did we mention that it is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants? Yes, we believe we did. However, it’s worth mentioning again because we have the study to back it up.
A 2007 research revealed aloe ferox leaf gel to exhibit strong phytochemical and polyphenol content. Researchers concluded that the gel may show promise as a natural remedy for alleviating a number of diseases, including diabetes and neurodegeneration.
Like most natural remedies, it can be applied both orally and topically. The method, of course, depends on the reason for use. To treat a skin condition like a rash or pimple breakout, use a rub-on product in gel or lotion form.
You can also ingest it orally. Be aware, though, that aloe ferox in its raw form is also known as bitter aloe for a reason. Luckily, most ferox supplements in powder or drink form are flavorless or contain other natural ingredients to mask the bitterness.
You’ll also find it in capsule form. This is a rather simple way: just pop in a pill or two per directions and let your digestive system handle the rest.
In any case, consume it orally if you’re taking it for digestive relief or cleansing your colon.
We find it puzzling that very few people have heard of aloe ferox despite the widespread familiarity of aloe vera. It is so beneficial that we included it in our Digestive Relief supplement. We encourage you to check it out if you suffer from the occasional bloating and gas.
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